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How to connect a laptop to a printer

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Connecting your laptop to peripherals is usually an easy process and this can also be said for printers. However, due to a number of makes and models as well as the advancement in wireless technology, there are a bunch of variables that can trip you up if you are looking to connect your laptop to a printer.

In this article, we’re going to go through exactly what you’ be needing to connect your laptop to a printer whether the one you own wired or wireless so you can get your printing done in a sinch. We’re also going to go through a few different makes of printer so you’re fully aware of the slight variations when trying to connect.

What you’ll need to connect a laptop to a printer

If you’ve got a wired printer, most of the time manufacturers decide to not include the cable for connecting it up to your device which is extremely annoying. The cable you’re going to need too is one that you’re likely not just going to have laying around in the house as it is pretty specific - the USB AB cable. These are pretty inexpensive though, and you can pick one up via this link. Other than that, you’re set to get printing!

If you’ve got a wireless variant, however, you’ll be able to connect your laptop to your printer via either Bluetooth or over WiFi. So, in terms of what you’ll need is a Bluetooth enabled laptop (or a Bluetooth adapter) for those who want to go down this route and basically just a WiFi connection for that option.

How to connect a laptop to a printer

So, you’ve got everything prepped to connect your laptop to a printer, now all you need is the steps to do so. As alluded to earlier, we’re going to talk through methods for both wired and wireless variants so if you have either of these, you’ll have the knowledge to successfully bridge that connection. Without further ado, let’s get started.

How to connect a wired laptop to a printer

If you own a wired printer, as we’ve mentioned in our ‘what you’ll need’ section, you’re going to be connecting it via the specific cable you should hopefully now have in your possession. Once this cable has been inserted into both your laptop and your printer, you can turn the printer on and let it go through its initiation process. During this time, your laptop may install the drivers necessary for you to start printing but if not, head to your manufacturer’s website where you should be able to find these. Furthermore, at this point, you may also require a software installation on your laptop, again, head to your manufacturer’s website and download it from there. After all of this is out the way, your laptop should now be connected to your printer and will be ready to go.

If you’re encountering any problems, there could be an issue with either your driver or software so try reinstalling these to hopefully fix your troubles.

How to connect a wireless laptop to a printer

If you’re lucky enough to have ditched the wires and are living a cable-free life, your printer probably has a Bluetooth connection or can connect to your WiFi allowing you to print from your laptop wirelessly.
If you’re wanting to connect a Bluetooth printer to your laptop wirelessly, you’re going to either have a Bluetooth enabled laptop, or have inserted a USB Bluetooth adapter that’ll bridge the connection. From this point, it’s the usual process for connecting any Bluetooth device but if you don’t know how, here are the steps:

  • Turn your printer on and head to where you enable Bluetooth. This is usually located in the settings or setup area
  • Turn your printer’s Bluetooth on
  • Open the Settings app on your laptop
  • Hit the Devices section
  • In the Bluetooth & other devices tab, click Add Bluetooth or other devices
  • A device window will now pop up. Click the Bluetooth option
  • Make sure your printer isn’t connected to any other device
  • Select your printer from the list of devices
  • Hit pair and connect

This process is the same for any Bluetooth printer no matter if yours is made by HP, Epson, Canon, etc. so there are no concerns there. If somehow this didn’t connect your laptop to your printer successfully, try and redo pairing, sometimes tech just doesn’t want to work first time!

Now, if you’ve got a WiFi-enabled printer, connecting wirelessly is even simpler and will allow you to send your documents and photos through no matter where you are in your household. To get this working, simply head over to your printer’s connection settings where you should see an option for connecting to your WiFi. Successfully pair by selecting your WiFi name from the list and entering your password. If it connects successfully then great, head over to your laptop and ensure it is also on the same network. You shouldn’t have to do any more work from your end, simply select what you want to print and head to the printing option. Here you should be able to choose the printer you own from the list and it’ll magically send your desired document or photo through the air to be printed by your device.

And there we go, you should now know how to connect your laptop to your printer no matter which variant you have. Of course, wired should technically be the easiest method but it definitely has its limitations. Thanks to the technology of today, Bluetooth and WiFi wireless connectivity are pretty speedy also and connections should be stable for the most part.

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